The wailing whine in her voice and the clawing hands and body thrown about my legs were about to push me to the garage mallet. Foreseen disaster was imminent. A thought stopped my hazardous plans, and a sinister concoction of motherly manipulation and deceit began to form. I wagged my finger at her.
“No smiling in this town allowed.”
My three year old wet eyes looked up at me as if I had gone completely crazy this time. (I’ve always been a borderline case.) She let go of my legs and backed away slightly, mesmerized by this new response.
I used it to full effect and placed a large frown on my face. “There will be no laughing.”
The right corner of her lips began to lift, even while her eyebrows were questioning this new reality.
The other side of her mouth began to join in.
“Hrrumph! I SAID NO SMILING ALLOWED! This is Misery Town, and you MUST stay miserable!!” My acting skills lacked considerable merit - okay, they completely lacked merit - but I pretended to look as if I was trying not to smile with her.
Her little body began to quiver with giggles so I knelt down to tickle her tiny frame in punishment.
My plan was stunning enough to stop the whining for at least another few hours ... back then. Over a decade has since passed, and today we live in the kingdom of a teen princess who thinks she is a queen. Though I tried the Misery Town trick on her just yesterday, all I got in return was a lavish display of eye-rolling and a solid view of her back. She’s far too smart for her own good - that one.
It’s just as well that my joy is not in the fleeting moments of happiness I manage to bring to her, and it does not disappear when I fail in my suspect subterfuge – it is in the moments when I stop to think about God and His place in her life, and mine, that joy is pulled up from the deep well within –
and He grabs
the brimming bucket
to pour its contents over me
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